A Ride on the Dark Side

I’ve heard and read about nighttime trail rides, but never experienced one for myself, so when I got a call from 9Toes asking if I wanted to ride the Kill Creek trails, I said “Hell, yeah,” even though I’d just ridden a rather past-paced 55-mile road ride in the morning.

A little after 7pm, I took off for the short 4-mile gravel road trip to meet 9Toes at his house, where we hooked up with his friend, Tyler, who drove us over to Kill Creek Park in his pickup. There we found another friend of 9Toes, JP from the SKC Racing Team.

After dawdling a bit getting everyone geared up, we were off. I went ahead and claimed the sweep position, and let the young guys disappear into the trees while I made my slow way along the winding trail.

At this point there was still enough light to see by, but soon enough the light was failing, and I stopped to switch on my lights. I had a Cateye HL-EL300 mounted to the handlebars and an Energizer 6-LED Headlamp mounted to my helmet.

They both sucked.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. I used this same combination last year on a short road ride and found them lacking. But I thought that in the more enclosed spaces of the trail, the lights would do a better job.

With a bit of daylight still lingering, I could still see somewhat, but as the darkness settled in, it just got worse and worse.

Eventually, as I approached a particularly rocky and twisty section, I just gave up and walked it. It wasn’t worth killing myself over.

But even if I could have seen perfectly, I couldn’t have kept up with the other guys. The skill level’s just not there yet. I’m really slow, and I have enough trouble handling these trails in the daylight.

So ultimately, I ended up doing (most of) one lap. That was enough. Tyler and JP did another lap, while 9Toes (who had wiped out once during the first lap) and I rested.


  1. Get some better lighting!
  2. Get some better shoes (sandals for singletrack, besides being pretty weird, is just dangerous).
  3. Get some skills!

It was kinda fun, but with the poor lighting and (for me) tough course, it was more frustrating than anything.

DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.

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